Everyone is trying to crack down on fake news, but there’s still little understanding of why such preposterous information spreads so easily. One recent study may have revealed a very important piece of the puzzle, however: people trust their friends too much.
The new study, from American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, suggests people believe news content more when it comes from friends they trust, regardless of its source. For example, if someone sees an article shared by their best bud Joe from an unknown, unvetted media source, they’re more likely to trust the article’s information than if they saw the same article from a reputable media source shared by someone they don’t know as well. That’s right, this study proposes that the sharer is more important than the outlet when it comes to news.
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